A Non-Triumphant Descent Into Hell with Hans Urs von Balthasar

A Non-Triumphant Descent Into Hell with Hans Urs von Balthasar April 18, 2014
Fryderyk Pautsch, "Under the Cross," 1911.
Fryderyk Pautsch, “Under the Cross,” 1911.

I’m usually a few days (or a few months behind) on almost everything I do. I never seem to catch up to life, but life catches up to me, like a cross.

I can’t find my copy of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Way of the Cross. It contains the best description of taking up one’s cross I’ve ever seen, but now I can’t share it with you.

Because I couldn’t find that text, I’d like to give you something to look forward to with the following meditation from von Balthasar’s book on the Credo:

“‘Descended into hell.’ Naturally since ‘Death’ is ‘followed by Hades’ (Rev. 6:8), regarding whose hopelessness the Psalms give us a realistic picture. It was as a humanly dead man that the Son descended to the dead, and not as a victorious living one with an Easter banner, such as is depicted in Eastern icons through an anticipatory projection of the Resurrection onto Holy Saturday. The Church has forbidden the singing of hallelujahs on this day. And yet this dead man is different from the rest…”

 

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